Time slaves

Title: Time Slaves



Location: Rue de la Banque 7 and 13

Surface area: 470 m2

In the centre of Le Locle, most of the buildings are constructed on pillars, as was the building that used to stand at 9 to 11 Rue de la Banque. Too badly damaged by subsidence to be saved, this typical Le Locle construction was demolished in 2012, leaving behind two large blank walls. The perfect spot every street artist dreams of! The symmetry of these two blank surfaces presented a rare opportunity to create an impressive diptych on the theme of time. Time that reduces everything – even stone – to dust. As a creator of several gigantic murals and a fan of metaphysical themes, M-City was the perfect choice to illustrate the inexorable passage of time and remind us of our mortal status.

According to his own mythology, the ordeal of the two giants, like industrial divers through time and space, is akin to that of Sisyphus whose punishment for daring to defy the gods was being forced to roll a boulder up a hill, only for it to escape and roll back down to where it started every time he neared the top, in an eternal loop. Also immortal, the two anthropomorphic entities that M-City has called the “slaves of time” never rest. Using all their strength, they attempt in vain to change the course of time: a fruitless, never-ending endeavour.

M-City’s graphic style, which is both restrained and complex, is graphically powerful. “The red and fiery orange around the giants are a throwback to atmospheres brimming with sweat. Large drops of perspiration streaming off workers at the bottom of mines or in forges with material flowing out of the furnace at high temperatures. These hot tones are also reminiscent of the flames of hell,” says the artist. The jumble of mechanisms symbolises man’s obsession with the physical measurement of time and associated predictions. “In this sweatshop, you can almost hear the grinding of the gears. Here, people are no longer made solely of flesh and blood. In spite of themselves, they end up being part of this huge machine of time, unchanging in its rhythm, restrictive and dictatorial. No one can escape time. Not even these Cyclopes,” asserts M-City. “I’ve used these gigantic proportions to reinforce the sense of smallness and impotence sometimes felt by passers-by at the foot of a wall or when they face an impossible situation.”

Out of interest, what does the artist think of watches? “I don’t wear one. I barely know what day it is.” And when he’s asked about his relationship with time, he says “(…) I’m aware that I’m lucky to do a job where things are pretty relaxed. » (The implication being that it’s more relaxed » than other kinds of work.)
© exomusée – January 2022 – Redaction: François Balmer – Translation: Proverb, Heiler & Co

Rue de la Banque 7 and 13



Mariusz Waras, better known as M-CITY, was born in 1978 in Gdynia in Poland. A graduate of the faculty of graphic arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk, Mariusz started creating street art in the early 1990s. A traveller with limitless imagination, he has produced huge murals in the streets of some of the world’s largest cities, such as Warsaw, Gdansk, Berlin, Paris, Budapest, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Bolzano, London and Prague. M-CITY works with Europe’s leading street art galleries. Used to soaring walls, M-City was the perfect person to produce a 470 m2 diptych at numbers 7 and 13 Rue de la Banque in Le Locle. Inspired by mechanical worlds, the artist questions our condition as mortals in this monumental work featuring two giants: cosmic entities that are slaves of time.
© exomusée – January 2022 – Redaction: François Balmer – Translation: Proverb, Heiler & Co

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